by Justin Raimondo

There would undoubtedly be no if it hadn’t been for Murray N. Rothbard. I am writing this column on January 7, the twenty-first anniversary of his death, and I can’t think of a more important topic at a time when the issue of war and peace looms larger than any other.

For those readers unfamiliar with the great libertarian theoretician and polymath, I refer you to my 2000 biography: An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Book). Suffice to say here that he was the inspirer and de facto founder of the organized libertarian movement in the twentieth century. His contributions to the theoretical foundations of libertarianism provide the essential framework for those who see themselves as the intellectual heirs of the nineteenth century classical liberals and their successors right up to the present day. The sheer depth and scope of his writings presents a complete vision of liberty: of not only what a free society will look like, but also how we are going to get there. (Go here for his massive bibliography.)

To those of my readers who are not libertarians, however, the question may arise: why should I care about him one way or the other? The answer lies in the trajectory of his life, and the intellectual journey that I and so many others traveled along with him.

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